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Two Witches: A Paranormal Analysis

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

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“It's a story of really evil and badass witches casting evil spells on people.”

- Pierre Tsigaridis, The Hollywood News

In 2021, "Two Witches" premiered at Salem Horror Film Festival. The movie is the feature film directorial debut of Pierre Tsigaridis. It was written by Tsigaridis, Kristina Klebe, and Maxime Rancon. There's a lot to unpack in the plot. The story is told in two parts, each part telling a different portion of connected events.

The first part follows a young woman, Sarah (Belle Adams), and her boyfriend Simon (Ian Michaels) through the terrors of being pursued by a witch (Marina Parodi), preying on Sarah's unborn baby. The young couple ventures off on a weekend getaway to stay with another couple, Dustin and Melissa (played by Tim Fox and Dina Silva). Melissa happens to be into spiritualism and suggests using an Ouija board to rid Sarah of whatever negativity may be following her.

Part two switches up the characters while weaving the threads of the storyline even tighter as the young witch Masha (Rebekah Kennedy) is introduced. Masha is the granddaughter of the witch in the first chapter. Although, on the surface, she appears slightly frightening, shy, and maybe even a little whimsical, as the movie continues, her powers and malicious nature grow. Masha is jealous of her roommate, Rachel's (Kristina Klebe) romantic life and takes her emotions to an extreme when she goes on a gruesome, albeit creative murderous rampage.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie and won't give many spoilers here. However, while there aren't any typical "ghosts" per se, there are a few paranormal aspects to "Two Witches" I want to touch on.

“I just saw a fucking coyote. Oh my god, it looked right at me.”

- Simon, Two Witches

So on their way to visit Melissa and Dustin, Sarah yells at Simon to pull the car over because she’s going to be sick. So they pull over at a rest stop, and Sarah experiences all kinds of terror-inducing occurrences while in the bathroom. It’s what happens to Simon out in the parking lot that really caught my attention, though.

While in the car waiting for Sarah, Simon sees a coyote. Unfortunately, the coyote is far from timid. It’s outside in broad daylight in a rest area, snarling at the blissfully unaware Simon. We later understand this to be a manifestation of the witch following them.

This is where I remembered the nahual. The nahual is a shape-shifting creature that transforms into predatory animals, such as a coyote, and drinks the blood of humans, particularly children.

Skinwalkers are another comparison that could be made regarding this scene. The skinwalker, in Navajo culture, is a dangerous witch who has the ability to transform themselves into an animal. Skinwalkers are said to be able to possess humans as well if that poor human were to lock eyes with them. These possessions can lead victims to do or say dark things they wouldn’t otherwise do.

In an interview with The Hollywood News, Pierre Tsigaridis mentioned that much of his inspiration for “Two Witches” is from various witch tales he’s heard from people around him. There’s a lot of lore involving witches transforming into predatory animals, especially while stalking their prey. In this case, Sarah, or Sarah’s baby.

“...the inspiration was a broad archetype from a fairy tale, something like you’d tell kids to behave.”

- Pierre Tsigaridis, Horror Obsessive

Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Spranger wrote the book Malleus Maleficarum” or “Witches Hammer” in 1486. The book was used as a manual for witch hunters and even contains quotes from several anonymous or unnamed witches. One quote found on the i.b. tauris blog reads,

"We entered the houses of our enemies at night, by doors and entranceways that were opened for us, and, while their fathers and mothers were sleeping, we picked up the tiny children and took them over by the fire. There we pierced them under their nails with the needle, and then, putting our lips to the wounds, we sucked out as much blood as our mouths would hold."

In 1612, Jane Southworth, Eileen, and Jennet Brierley stood trial for witchcraft in the Lancashire Witch Trials. A 14-year-old girl accused the three of killing and draining an infant's life. The girl, Grace Sowerbutts (tee-hee), eventually admitted to making it all up and being told what to say. However, as time continued, more and more tales of witches eating babies were told, "Brother's Grimm," anyone?

Even now, creatures like the wendigo, or flesh-eater of the forests, are associated with cannibalism, murder, and greed. The creature is a horrifying humanoid-like entity with bones pushing out of its pale skin and long claws and fangs. The wendigo is cursed to wander in search of human flesh and starves to death if it doesn't find any.

"Two Witches" relays long-passed down tales of witches, demonic entities, and cryptids eating children in the form of the old crone and her deadly grasp on the main characters.

“It’s not like ‘oh-wee-gee board,’ it's just like ‘wee-gee board.’”

- Melissa, Two Witches

Okay, so this is a witch movie through and through, BUT there's an Ouija board, and it needs to be discussed. Upon hearing about this negative entity following Sarah around, Melissa suggests they have a session with the Ouija board.

Few beers and summoning the unknown? Self-care.

While it's common knowledge that Ouija boards are a children's toy that absolutely should not be a children's toy, there's more to it than that. Spiritualism was born in the United States as more or less of a parlor trick. The Fox Sisters, Maggie, and Kate Fox rose to popularity in the 1800s by holding seances in which they would tap on surfaces and pretend to communicate with the dead. The ability to communicate with deceased loved ones appealed to a lot of people (and still does). Seances became nothing more than something people might do on the weekend with a group of friends or loved ones, while a fake psychic mediums took their money and gave them false portrayals of the dead.

The Ouija board was almost a direct result of the spirituality craze. Unfortunately, the board was released with little care as to whether or not it actually "worked," and careless but effective marketing made it a hit.

There's something known as the ideomotor effect. Identified in 1852 by psychologist William B. Carpenter, the ideomotor effect is the occurrence of "unconscious and involuntary motor movements that are performed by a person because of prior expectations conceptions or preconceptions." This phenomenon is widely believed to be responsible for the movement of the planchet where Ouija board participants place their fingertips.

Through countless experiences, documented stories, and Hollywood depictions, it's clear the paranormal problem with Ouija boards is that when used carelessly, they can be a dangerous portal between our world and the unknown. It's meant to be used as a window of communication, but the window itself is open to anyone and anything, and sometimes the uninvited show up. One thing I noticed in "Two Witches" is that the Ouija session was never closed. This means when Sarah, Melissa, Dustin, and Simon gave up and went on with the night, the window was left open, allowing for any sort of darkness to seep through, which becomes very clear as their night goes on.

“Witches don’t die before leaving their legacy.”

- Two Witches

The use and blending of lore in "Two Witches" give it the driving force it needs to be a scary and fun movie. While I won't pretend to be an expert on malevolent witches, I definitely enjoyed the transfer of power from a dying witch to the new coven queen, Masha.

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